A protected bird in this country, emu farming in Australia is a business.
One of the largest birds in the world, ostrich family; and as iconic of this continent as the Koalas and Tasmanian devils.
The emu appears on the shield of this nation in recognition of the unique endemic fauna that makes it so special.
The emu is quite common and found throughout Australia, though fewer live in desert areas, and female emu are generally larger than males.
While they can weigh about 40 kilograms, males only about 36 kg.
It is a very particular bird in each and every one of its facets.
And although emus don't fly, it can run at speeds of up to 50 km per hour.
Emu feathers are brown and grow in pairs with two shafts joined at the base. The quills that come out of the shafts are separated, not joined as in the feathers of flying birds. This means that the bird appears more covered in hair than feathers.
The necks of emus are often featherless and the skin is bluish.
They have long legs, with three large toes just like their African counterpart.
Their beaks are wide and smooth, which they use to graze grass and forage for food in the bushes. They eat fruits, flowers, insects, seeds, and green plants.
Did you know why they eat stones?
Birds have a part of their body called a gizzard. The food they eat goes to the gizzard to be crushed and digested. Emus swallows stones large enough to help grind the food in his gizzard.
A bird that does not fly?
Birds that do not fly have a different sternum than birds that do fly. The sternum of flying birds is like a keel, while emus have a raft-shaped sternum. Emus belong to the group of flightless birds called ratites. Ratites have wings, but they are not used for flying; and from ostriches to penguins are in this peculiar group of birds.
Emu wings are about the size of your hand and are useful in hot weather to cool off or held up to the sides to circulate air.
Emus can go 2 months without eating.
The female Emu also dominates during breeding. Once she has laid her large green eggs, the father will take over the incubation as well as the Emperor penguin.
At this stage, she may walk away and never return. Sometimes it will find another pair and breed again.
Meanwhile, the father is tasked with hatching the eggs. During this time, it stops drinking or eating, since it does not leave the nest for two months to protect the nest from predators.
There were Dwarf Emus.
Before Europeans came to Australia, two dwarf species of emu lived on the Kangaroo and King Islands in southern Australia. Unfortunately, they were exterminated by the new settlers. This illustrates how our actions can affect the world around us, and in Australia, species as peculiar as the Tasmanian Tiger have disappeared by direct human action.
Emus has a powerful voice.
An emu has a deep, deep voice that can be compared to a hollow drum. They can also growl and whistle. The sound may be loud, but it is of such a low frequency that it is difficult to record but it helps you communicate over great distances, as much as two kilometers.
His name is not Australian ...
While the Emu is endemic to Australia, its name is not of Aboriginal origin. The word Emu has been theorized to be derived from the Arabic word for large bird.
This term may have been adopted by the Portuguese who took it with them on their expeditions in Indonesia where they would have seen the cassowary, the closest relative to the emu.
More than a symbol now, emu oil is business for Australian farmers.
The use of emu oil is as old as the Australian Aboriginal culture. According to its oral history, emu oil has been used for more than 40.000 years.
As a home remedy, the oil was adopted to relieve minor aches and pains, help wounds heal faster, and protect skin from the elements.
Native Australians first introduced emu oil to European culture as a sunscreen and natural moisturizer.
Since then, people have attributed far more benefits to emu oil, although evidence to support many of these claims is lacking.
Among these applications, it is being used more and more as an anti-inflammatory for the treatment of inflammation of the ear, inflammatory bowel syndrome, in arthritis to relieve pain, to prevent bone loss induced by chemotherapy and in dermatology it is used as a skin moisturizer.
But perhaps the characteristic that is gaining more followers is found in the cosmetic industry, since it contains antioxidant properties against aging and regenerative of the skin such as aloe vera
In dermatology it is used in the treatment of skin conditions, such as skin wounds and seborrheic dermatitis. It can also help with alopecia, rosacea, hypopigmentation, and shingles.
How natural repellent, emu oil contains terpenes. Applied to the skin before going outdoors, it keeps insects away.
It is credited with the ability to lower cholesterol, although studies still seek to prove this scientifically.
For Breastfeeding It is used to relieve breast tenderness for breastfeeding mothers.
The benefits seem to be increasing every day, which has made this bird, more than a symbol, in a proliferating industry in Australia.